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Interiorssneak peeks

An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle

by Lauren Chorpening

Creating a home that serves more than function or utility takes time. A home that meets physical, physiological and emotional needs is a feat, especially when furniture is just furniture without some inspiration in how it is used. Jordan Carlson has made her Seattle, WA apartment not just a place in which she lives, but a place where she can thrive and enjoy the company of others.

Jordan grew up in Northern California and lived all over the country before moving to Seattle. She then left Seattle for a number of years to pursue a graphic design degree in New York. She returned two years ago and has found it to be as much her home now as it was when she left. In moving back to the Pacific Northwest, Jordan was looking for an apartment that had natural light to combat the overcast days. She also needed to find a home in a densely populated area. After living in New York City for four years without a car, having a place within walking distance to most things was an important element in her search. Jordan found this incredible 1,000-square-foot, early 1900s apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. After emailing the landlord four times about seeing a space she found on Craigslist, she was finally able to tour it and immediately decided to call it her home.

Jordan’s eclectic aesthetic is a lovely mix of Victorian, industrial, mid-century, minimal and modern. Her home isn’t just for herself to enjoy, and since the first walk-through, she has seen the space as a place to host and welcome others. “My home has been created around the value of creating space, of bringing people together, of hospitality (versus simply entertaining),” Jordan says. “My home is absolutely an aesthetic endeavor, and personally, day in and day out, I need it to be a place that offers calm and respite. But I hope it’s that for others as well. I desire it to be a place of joy, laughter, restoration, healing, discovery, and the list goes on.” Jordan’s restful, cool and curated home is a gorgeous representation of her caring and welcoming spirit. –Lauren

Photography by Brooke Fitts

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An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan's home is a sophisticated, eclectic mix of materials, textures and styles. The velvet Victorian sofa, industrial drawer coffee table and mid-century lounge chair each have a significant presence in the space while combining beautifully together.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"My living room basically exemplifies my basic philosophy/value toward most items I purchase, whether it's my decor or my clothes or my experiences: it's a balance. I am willing to invest in something that I believe is beautiful, well designed, and well crafted, but it will likely be next to a Craigslist or Target find," Jordan says. "I also find this process of discovery to be what makes a home visually interesting. Sometimes you simply need a piece of furniture to fill a need but whenever possible, I try and be intentional about the decisions; I don't want to circle through furniture, and I haven't."
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Jordan's restful home is effortlessly styled with pieces that are significant and beautiful to her.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"My style really is eclectic, but not in an extreme way. I love a mixture of aesthetics: both mid-century modern and more industrial pieces have a significant place, but I also value warmth, texture, and classic/clean lines," Jordan says. "I love crafted pieces and original artwork. There's nothing like a hand-me-down that carries a story that's been handed down. All of these are experienced within my home."
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan Carlson in her bright Seattle living room.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"I buy things I really like and I make them work...and I live with them for a long time. This apartment didn't just come together when I moved here a year and a half ago; it's been a slow, fun process over years," Jordan says.
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Jordan's lovely details and vignettes in her home finish each space perfectly.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan's goal of curating a relaxing space for family and friends is found in decorative moments.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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The entry from the front door includes a simple hairpin console that Jordan made with the help of her friend, Erick from Plank & Grain, to hold her keys. The chalkboard paint wall in the landing is the one wall she didn't paint over when she moved in.
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"What I love most about my home is..."
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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The dining room gets the most guests. Jordan's friends even ask to host their own events in the space.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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The large windows in the dining room make the perfect environment for gathering friends together. The custom light fixture is a minimal, modern and elegant addition to the room. "I have long been a fan of the Brooklyn company, Workstead; they make incredibly designed products but are unfortunately out of my price range. So...my friend Dave was up for the challenge of creating a fixture for me that was inspired by the original and I'm thrilled with it. When asked, I'm always quick to give original design credit to Workstead, but am abundantly thankful [for] the skill and resourcefulness of my friend," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"I looked for quite some time for a piece for this area. While wanting storage, I also wanted something that could serve as an initial focal point... and in the end, got this dresser at Land of Nod -- yes, the children's store. Just goes to show, you never know where you'll find something," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"Adjacent to the dining table is a huge metal 'sideboard' that I've had for years, but was also in storage while I was in NYC. This was originally in the kitchen of a Southern California university where my uncle worked. When they were getting rid of it, he acquired it for his art studio. Decades later, he was getting rid of it and I asked my parents if they would please, please keep it for me until I had a place to put it. Amazingly, they agreed. It's made an appearance in three different homes now, each in a different space (kitchen, entry, and now dining room). I love it. During dinner parties, that space is maximized by holding drinks or dinner platters," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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The credenza is adorned with a blown-up photograph of Jordan's grandparents, a vintage lamp, and pretty details.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"I am taken by the beautiful little 'sculptures' that can be found in nature and unintentionally, and found myself with this mini collection. Days after seeing this little display, my four-year-old friend Aven gave me the shell to include in the beauties," Jordan says.
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Jordan's kitchen walls are filled with a collection of artwork on both sides of the window.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan's bedroom is relaxed and refined. The dark grey accent wall behind her bed creates interest and contrast.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"I place a high value on my common areas being welcoming and conducive to conversation. Therefore, my TV is on a cart that lives in the closet unless it comes out for movie-watching, and my large computer (as graphic designers have) is set up in my bedroom. I still stand by these decisions made when I first moved in, but I do find this rest/work dual function of my bedroom to be challenging. I still play with ideas to help remedy this, like the possibility of a work "wardrobe," where my computer/office could be closed up," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"I was fortunate that I came into this apartment with the majority of pieces that I needed. While there are still items that I want to tweak, I felt pretty settled within weeks," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan's guest bedroom is bright and calm with a mostly white palette.
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"This room is basically all white, with very, very little in it...and I love it. The morning light is amazing and I find it so calming."
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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"The second bedroom didn't have a closet, so based on a beautiful, expensive wardrobe I saw online, I went to IKEA and purchased their simplest, white, PAX wardrobe and hired a friend to build out my vision [to] raise the wardrobe with wood legs so that suitcases or other items can slide underneath and adding shelves to the side. Once he built out the unit for me, I had a couple sets of CB2 wall hooks and used two of them as oversized door knobs," Jordan says.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan on the steps of her lovely home.
An Inviting and Refined Gathering Space in Seattle | Design*Sponge
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Jordan's floor plan.

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Comments

  • This is one of my all time favorite homes and her “Favorite thing I love about my home” made me get the sniffles. I’m stealing her Ikea hack too. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Hey Viktoriya.

      The chalkboard wall was painted when I arrived and although I don’t know which brand, it’s standard chalkboard paint in black. Unfortunately, the wall behind the bed was a customized color…and I don’t have the can anymore to even tell you the formula. Sorry about that.

  • My freakish memory recalls the lovely furnishings and design sensibilities here. You won the yearly apartment therapy design contact several years back, when you were in New York? Welcome to Seattle – your new place is equally enviable!

    • Rebecca, you are AMAZING!! Great memory! Only proof that I don’t change up the furniture all that much. :) My NYC friends who have visited seem to especially appreciate the nostalgic feeling between the two living rooms. :) Thank you.

  • The first pic looked eerily familiar, until I realized I had ‘seen it’ way back in 2011 when Jordan’s Brooklyn apartment won a small/cool contest on another design website Its so neat that your current living room is virtually unchanged from that previous one–furniture, placement, lighting-wise– and yet, four years later, it doesn’t look at all dated and still exudes gorgeous calm elegance! Just lovely!

    • Ha! Thanks Ellietown! Great catch! Ya, the overall space is double what I had in Bklyn although my living room has only become wider by a few feet. :) As I mentioned in a comment above, my NYC pals who have come to visit have an amazing nostalgic response upon seeing the space. :) Thanks for your kind words.
      J.

  • What I like most is your sensibilities about decorating. And that metal buffet in the dining room- that’s awesome!

  • Always a fan of employing old flat files as a coffee table! Bravo!!

    I’ve had clients keep artwork and architectural drawings in there (which is what they are intended for) but I love hearing what other people use them for.

    Jordan, what do you have in yours?

    • Aren’t they fabulous? The drawers are filled with a mixture of magazines, old couple old school projects I just haven’t parted with, and paper. I am brainstorming ways to make one a puzzle drawer…getting a piece of masonite cut to fit that a puzzle-in-process can be placed on and stored. We’ll see. :)

  • I too recall seeing this space featured on another site years ago…it has remained one of my favourite home tours on any site ever and I’m happy to see it featured here today–and to say it still remains one of my faves. Jordan’s style appears so effortless–which is usually the toughest style to nail! I can relate to so much of her philosophy…on investing in quality but it’ll likely be next to something inexpensive…and of her aesthetic – eclectic but not in an extreme way. Bravo Jordan – you have a lovely home.

  • Ahhh! I loved your apartment and voted for it during the AT contest a few years ago. Your coffee table and rug haunted my dreams for years! So lovely to see you here on DS and in a new place, new city but showing us all how good design can be carried over from one to another.

    • Thanks for the vote back in the day, LAH! It’s cracking me up how many folks recognize it. I appreciate your observation that good design can be carried from one place to another. Well said.

  • Gorgeous place. So cozy, and with great light! I remember the AT tour too. Impressive how many pieces you made work in two very different sized spaces.

    Where is the lamp in the second photo from?

  • Wow I love Jordans style, what a nice house! I see a lot of rental apartment s in Amsterdam for my job, and became interested in interior. Wish all our clients would have such beautiful houses! Thanks for sharing :)

    Lots of love,
    Desiree

  • I also remember this from the AT contest. When I saw the living room picture, my first thought was where is that beautiful nest painting?! Glad to see it’s still there albeit in a different place :)

  • Oh my. Certainly one of my favorites! Your lovely soothing home is very inspiring to me as I continue my mission of editing down my family’s excess possessions. Your words “investing in quality but it’ll likely be next to something inexpensive” rather encapsulates my style. I have collected beautiful quality pieces for years, refurbishing, thrifting, DIYing, and making use of the less expensive options such as white paint, natural treasures, and Target awesomeness to fill in the rest.

  • Do you happen to know the dimensions of the PAX cabinet you used? I’d love to do one in my home. Just brilliant! :)

    • Hey Melissa. I’m just seeing your question now but I’m out of town for a week+. Once I’m home, I’ll measure and let you know. Thanks for the inquiry.

  • I’ve looked at this profile so many times. Absolutely love your aesthetic; beautiful and artistic but also warm and comfortable. I’m also a huge fan of your Ikea hack. Any chance you can share how the legs were assembled? Would love to try something similar in my almost closet-less loft. Unless your friend would like to come to LA and build me one too:)

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